The highest-ranked member of Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class is Ohio defensive end Zach Harrison, who checks in as the No. 4 player in the nation overall.
Being from Lewis Center, which is just north of Columbus, Harrison was expected by most to be a Buckeye. Being on the radar as long as he was, those expectations began a few years ago, and so did the relationships.
Over the past year, however, it began looking a bit grim for Ohio State as both Penn State and Michigan fought their way into the picture, muddying Harrison’s waters a great deal.
After a visit to each respective school, the recruiting winds would shift directions.
With Urban Meyer’s retirement, that put Ohio State in a position of having to catch up in a recruitment that they had been a part of for a long time.
Ultimately, Ryan Day and Ohio State won the recruiting battle and Harrison signed with the Buckeyes. It wasn’t all just Day, however.
“Yeah, it’s been a long process,” Day said on signing day. “His head coach, Zebb Schroeder, had a lot to do with this. Larry Johnson has been recruiting Zach for a long, long time. Obviously Urban had a big part of this thing, and it’s been a long time coming.”
Following the announcement of the OSU regime change, Ryan Day immediately went to work on getting to know Harrison and his family and reassuring them of his plan for both Harrison and the program.
“We had a home visit last week,” he said. “It was really important to sit down in the home and talk to the family about the direction of the program and having some communication just on some of the leadership changes obviously that comes with the change in the head coach, and that communication stayed all the way until last night.”
The race went down to the wire, but Ryan Day and Larry Johnson couldn’t be more excited to have him as part of this class. They both believe he is a special person and player, and he will have everything he needs to reach his potential as a Buckeye.
Even though the process was a quiet one, there was never a dull moment in Harrison’s recruitment. Despite the deafening silence, Day felt pretty good about Ohio State’s position with Harrison following that final in-home visit.
“Yeah, I did. I did,” he said. “I think there was a connection made there, and obviously the connection that Larry had with the family was really, really important, and I believe that the family trusted that we were going to take care of their son when they came to Ohio State.”
Signing one of the top players in the nation is always going to be celebrated by the coaches that put the work in. But once Harrison arrives on campus, which will happen next month, then the work truly begins for both the player and the coaches.
Harrison may be 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds and run a 10.8 100-meter dash, but in order to reach his potential, he needs to be in the right place, and both he and Day believe that place is Ohio State.
“He thought this thing through,” Day said. “This wasn’t something he just jumped to, and obviously being under Larry’s tutelage, that’s a big part of this thing. And so it isn’t all going to happen at once, but the ceiling for Zach is really, really high.”